Review: The View from Here
by Jeff Foust
|Space may not be a high-growth field, but recent developments do offer opportunities for a new generation of engineers, if they’re properly prepared to take advantage of them.|
Reece Lumsden offers some practical advice for up-and-coming engineers in The View from Here. The book is designed to guide a prospective engineer through their education and early career phases, including guidance on pursuing advanced degrees, finding a job, and, once on the job, embracing the non-technical skills needed for success, including effective communications, ethics, and attitude, the last of which he describes as the secret of the successful engineer. Lumsden bases his book on his own experience studying engineering in college in Australia and later coming to work in the US (his bio coyly notes that he works for a “large aerospace company in Everett, Washington”.)
While Lumsden does have a space background, including a master’s degree from the International Space University, this book is not space-specific but instead covers engineering disciplines in general. Other than a few anecdotes about his own career, including asking a panel of space industry CEOs at a conference why he was having a problem finding a job despite his strong background, Lumsden focuses on advice that’s relevant to any engineering-related career. In one chapter of the book, he identifies high-growth engineering fields, including biotech, alternative energy, and Internet services; aerospace was notably, if unsurprisingly, absent from that list. Space may not be a high-growth field, but recent developments, from development of commercial crew and cargo systems to work on systems and technologies to enable human exploration beyond Earth orbit, do offer opportunities for a new generation of engineers, if they’re properly prepared to take advantage of them. The View from Here offers the guidance and advice to help them do just that.